How Do I Use Bitcoin to Bet Poker Online? (Bitcoin Poker Series Part I)

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:
Oct/28/2018

Being an intergral part of the gaming industry, we here at Gambling911.com are constantly asked two questions that might otherwise shock our regular readers:  "How can I play online poker with real money?"

CLAIM UP TO $1000 SIGNUP BONUS HERE

And - wait for it - "How do I buy and use Bitcoin?"  Knowing the answer to both questions, you can be up and playing poker online in a matter of minutes.

Watch This Video

The below video, courtesy of our friends at Americas Cardroom, explains how to fund your online poker account using Bitcoin.  It is geared slightly more towards those who have already dabbled in Web poker for real money, but it is still quite informative in understanding how to open an online betting account is the easy part.

How Fast Does It Take To Get Paid Using Bitcoin?

The Basics

*Online Betting Account - In order to place bets, you will need to open an account at any number of Internet poker sites.  This account needs to be secured with a password.  You will need to fund it prior to placing a bet.

*Bitcoin Wallet - This is used to transfer Bitcoin to and from the online poker room and can also be used for storing winnings.

*Bitcoin Exchange - This is used to convert Bitcoin to your regular currency (i.e. US Dollars) then transfer to and from your linked bank account.

Don't I Need Something Like $5000 for One Bitcoin?

Okay, that's not how it works when using Bitcoin to bet online.  It's amazing how all these Bitcoin "experts" and investors do little to actually educate folks (us included) as to how Bitcoin actually works in the real world (outside of trading).

It's important that they grasp this notion since online gambling and marijuana sales are now playing a pivotal role in Bitcoin's use across a much broader spectrum. The more Bitcoin catches on with real life consumers, the higher Bitcoin's trading price gets. Bitcoin was trading right around the $6400 mark as of this writing October 28, 2018.

Now getting back to the conversion.  $1 = $6400 (one Bitcoin is worth $6400).  So you might be asking yourself, if I want to fund my account using Bitcoin, do I need $6400 to get started?  The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT.  In fact, if you wish to open your online betting account with just $50, you can still fund using Bitcoin.  In Bitcoin World, once converted, your $50 becomes 0.0078. 

Say you end up winning a bunch of bets with a value of $600 USD and decide to cash out.  That $600 USD can be cashed out using Bitcoin and would be equivalent to 0.094.  We'll explain further below.

Okay So What Am I Supposed to Do With 0.094 Worth of Bitcoin?

A lot of folks just assume Bitcoin is worthless and must gain in value to keep as an investment much like a stock. This isn't the case.  That 0.094 can be cashed out instantaneously and converted back to its US Dollar form of $600, minus a small fee.

Think of it as a currency exchange when traveling abroad.  For those of you who have ever traveled to Costa Rica, the concept becomes easier to understand.  My $10 US Dollars becomes 5960 Colones.  No, that's not the equivalent of $5960 US Dollars.  That 5960 is equivalent to $10 US Dollars, just like your $10 US Dollars would be equivalent to 0.0016 Bitcoin and just as 10 Costa Rica Colones is equivalent to 0.017 in the States.

That 5960 in Colons is essentially worthless in the US while the US Dollar is mostly worthless in Costa Rica (some places there do accept US Dollars, but this is not the norm).  When traveling to another country, you will want to convert your home money to the currency used in the country you'll be visiting.  The same concept is true of Bitcoin.  The online poker site will pay out in Bitcoin.  You will need to convert that Bitcoin into the currency of your choice (i.e. US Dollars) through what is known as a cryptocurrency or Bitcoin Exchange.

Make sure when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange or Bitcoin exchange that it can be linked to your bank account or PayPal.

I Want to Open An Online Poker Account

While many affiliate websites will encourage you to fund your online poker account right away, Gambling911.com is one of the rare flat fee sites that does not take a cut of referred player winnings or get paid for referred depositing players.  As such, we highly encourage newcomers to open an online poker account with sites like Americas Cardroom AND PLAY FOR FREE.

In fact, most online poker operators would love to entice folks into playing on their sites for free as a means of learning the game.  They know that eventually a good percentage of these individuals will want to play for real money, but only after they feel more comfortable going up against others.  Unfortunately, affiliates who provide the brunt of referral business are offered little incentive to promote freebies.  Because of this, the public is mostly unaware that they can play on these sites for free.

I Want to Fund My Online Poker Account

Once you are ready to start playing online poker for real money, there are quite a few options readily available.  Over the years, funding had become more difficult in countless nations across the globe due to banking restrictions applied to gambling.  This included the United States.

Credit cards used to be among the easiest methods to deposit funds with an online poker site.  Some banks issuing credit cards (not all) bowed to Government pressure and began prohibiting their Visa and Mastercards from being used for gambling activities.  But the US can't have it both ways.  With online poker now legal in a handful of states, third party processors have been tasked with determining which are US-licensed and which are internationally-licensed websites when allowing usage of some bank-issued credit cards for online gambling purposes.  Third party processors are also available to assist these internationally-licensed websites.  This means that credit card acceptance rates across the board have improved for Internet gambling.  It's still not perfect. 

All it takes at Americas Cardroom is $10 to make an online Poker deposit (unless otherwise stated).  Besides use of a credit card, there are other methods readily available for depositing funds into your online poker account.  But by far the most popular (now used by upwards of 70% of Americas Cardroom customers) is Bitcoin.

Now I Want to Deposit Funds Using Bitcoin .....So Easy!!!!

Take it from us, we were complete dummies when it came to understanding Bitcoin.  It is EASY as 1-2-3, we were quick to find out.

First, you will want to download a Bitcoin wallet to your laptop, iPad or mobile device.  There are many secure Bitcoin wallets that can be found across the Net (Google "Bitcoin Wallet" then read reviews).  Bitcoin.com is one that is super easy to use.  You will need to find the compatible download (i.e. Mac OS, Windows, Android, Google Play, etc..).

Next, you will want to find a Bitcoin exchange that functions in your country of origin.  Don't do what we here at Gambling911 did initially!!!!  We opened accounts at a few exchanges only to realize they don't work with US banks.  Each country has its own cryptocurrency exchange.  Larger exchanges like Coinbase operate in multiple countries, but not all.  And, yes, there are a few governments that prohibit cryptocurrency exchanges completely.

For US customers, Kraken, Coinbase and Gemini are exchanges that can be used in conjunction with your Bitcoin wallet and many banking institutions.

The Bitcoin exchanges take a little more effort in setting up in that one will have to verify their bank account.  Coinbase has made this process easier by logging into your account directly through a secure access gateway (don't worry, this is only a review mode, they can't gain access to your funds or login information).  You'll also need to provide the exchange with a photo ID.  This is all for security reasons and necessary.

From here you will link the Bitcoin exchange to your personal bank account.  Money from your bank account gets converted from USD to Bitcoin via the exchange into your secure wallet.

Once the money is in your wallet, you will send funds to the online poker site using an anonymous address provided by the wallet.  Follow the instructions provided by the wallet on how to send and receive. 

Cut and paste that address.  Read and verify it a couple of times before submitting.  We recommend sending only a small amount to get acquainted with the process ($20 to $50 equivalent).  Go to Blockchain.com and enter that address into the search box in order to check the status.  There is a process called mining and 6x verifications that we won't delve into here, but it is essentially the processing period similar to when funds are wired to your personal bank account.

Important Final Things to Know

*Never transfer funds directly between the Bitcoin exchange and the online poker site.  Always use a security wallet as the intermediary.  Most exchanges (Coinbase included) technically do not want customers using the exchange for the purpose of online gambling (or any other industry where Bitcoin is important for that matter).  While Bitcoin is known for being anonymous, the exchanges can track their own generated addresses. 

*Likewise, never store your Bitcoin in the exchange.  The exchange is meant to transfer funds immediately.  They are not meant to store funds, the same way you don't keep your funds stored at a currency exchange at the airport.

*While the price of Bitcoin has stabilized in recent months, it still fluctuates.  So if you intend on keeping funds stored in your wallet, they could appreciate or depreciate depending on the market.

*We suggest for larger transfers between your secure wallet and the exchange to break these up (amounts under $5000). 

*Verify that address is correct.

*Back up your secure wallet.  You'll be provided with a series of words in proper order.  Write these down IN THAT ORDER and keep in a secure fireproof safe just as you would cash in your home or condo.  This is necessary in case you happen to lose your mobile device or your laptop burns out.  DO NOT EMAIL THESE WORDS OR STORE THEM ON YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES.  Treat your Bitcoin wallet just as you do your own personal bank account.

*Once you start using Bitcoin regularly, it might be wise to explore external wallet options.

*Some Bitcoin Exchanges only allow funds transfers to personal bank accounts and not all banking institutions work with these cryptocurrencies.  You may need to consider opening an account with a larger bank, link your PayPal account if possible, or you can even have someone trusted move funds through their connected exchange.  This is a lucrative little business in that these folks can charge a fee for each transfer minus the wire fee to your bank account.

*Exchanges will sometimes impose maximum "sells" per week.  This is the amount of Bitcoin that can be transferred between the exchange and your bank.  We have found that these maximums can be pretty high, upwards of $100,000 at Coinbase, per week.

*For the most part, Bitcoin is anonymous and a cheap way of funding and withdrawing from your online poker account.  Remember, there is a small fee applied. 

*Download a two-factor authenticator to your for extra security when logging into your Bitcoin exchange.  Lean more once you signu up with the exchange. It's easy to set up and highly recommended.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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